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Christo Kole, Benedikt Brommer, Naoki Nakaya, Mohor Sengupta, Luis Bonet-Ponce, Tantai Zhao, Chen Wang, Wei Li, Zhigang He, Stanislav Tomarev; Activating Transcription Factor 3 (ATF3) Protects Retinal Ganglion Cells and Promotes Functional Preservation After Optic Nerve Crush. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(2):31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.2.31.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate the possible role of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) neuroprotection and optic nerve regeneration after optic nerve crush (ONC).
Overexpression of proteins of interest (ATF3, phosphatase and tensin homolog [PTEN], placental alkaline phosphatase, green fluorescent protein) in the retina was achieved by intravitreal injections of recombinant adenovirus-associated viruses (rAAVs) expressing corresponding proteins. The number of RGCs and αRGCs was evaluated by immunostaining retinal sections and whole-mount retinas with antibodies against RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (RBPMS) and osteopontin, respectively. Axonal regeneration was assessed via fluorophore-coupled cholera toxin subunit B labeling. RGC function was evaluated by recording positive scotopic threshold response.
The level of ATF3 is preferentially elevated in osteopontin+/RBPMS+ αRGCs following ONC. Overexpression of ATF3 by intravitreal injection of rAAV 2 weeks before ONC promoted RBPMS+ RGC survival and preserved RGC function as assessed by positive scotopic threshold response recordings 2 weeks after ONC. However, overexpression of ATF3 and simultaneous downregulation of PTEN, a negative regulator of the mTOR pathway, combined with ONC, only moderately promoted short distance RGC axon regeneration (200 μm from the lesion site) but did not provide additional RGC neuroprotection compared with PTEN downregulation alone.
These results reveal a neuroprotective effect of ATF3 in the retina following injury and identify ATF3 as a promising agent for potential treatments of optic neuropathies.
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